A visit to Abingdon Wine Estate
Abington Wine Estate, KwaZulu-Natal Midlands
(Photos : Jane Smorthwaite)
Abingdon Wine Estate
KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, South Africa
Abingdon Wine Estate is located in the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal Midlands at Lions River, a mere 30 minute drive from Hartford House. Late last year the Hartford House 'Front of House' team had the opportunity to tour this amazing wine estate.
Abingdon is a single vineyard boutique wine producer, which for most might not mean much, but for those who are able to accomplish this, it is quite an achievement... especially in KwaZulu-Natal.
We were warmly welcomed by Jane and Ian Smorthwaite, who purchased the property in 2000 and planted their first vines in 2004, yielding their first harvest in 2007. Ian, a very passionate wine maker, took us through the vineyards explaining the different vines - Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Chardonnay, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as providing an understanding of the vine cycles and seasons. Some staff members were horrified at the thought of starting work at 4am for harvest time! After our walk through the vineyard we were shown around the 'cellar' where all the production happens. And what a treat this was; with stainless steel vats and wooden barrels lining the walls and an explanation of the cooling belts and fermentation processes.
We then moved down to their wine bar, where on weekends they serve a variety of meals and platters, as well as a little dessert... and their fantastic wines. Here we had an opportunity to taste the labours of their hard work. Abington wines are 'old world style' and the difference is quite remarkable, the nose is shy and not upfront as in the case of 'new world' wines and the palate offers cool fruit and minerality.
Abingdon Estate has a few select outlets, hotels and restaurants that are able to purchase their wines for resale. Hartford House has been offered the opportunity to stock the Abingdon Chardonnay and Viognier.
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